Managing Up: What Does it Mean and Why is it Important in Today’s World of Work

Real NimblyWise Journey: Lars, Microsoft

You’ve probably heard the term “managing up” at some point in your career—whether it’s a joke around the lunch table or a point in a professional development podcast. But what does managing up really mean? Managing up can be defined as adapting your behavior at work to effectively manage your manager, making their job easier.

There is a negative connotation with managing up in many cases. People assume it’s insubordinate or a way to try and level up against your boss, it can even be seen as sucking up. When in reality, it’s one of the most important keys to cohesive teamwork and job satisfaction!

Nearly 60% of people quit a job because of their boss—but with effective managing up, not only will you make your boss’s life easier, but you’ll also probably have more control over making your day-to-day enjoyable. How about that?! Today, we’re going to share tips and tricks for managing up at any level in your career, as well as how developing important soft skills can make managing up that much easier. Ready to take some notes?

Why Developing Soft Skills is the Key with Effectively Managing Up

Soft skills can be seen as the foundation one needs to effectively interact with others in the workplace. They’re not knowledge based, they weren’t taught in school, and most issues that arise in the workplace are due to interpersonal issues or misunderstandings. Since managing up is all about understanding the way your manager works, being confident in yourself and your abilities, and allowing yourself to be creative with problem-solving rather than requiring explicit direction—soft skills are critical!

Things like interpersonal communication, decision making, critical thinking, attitude, self-awareness, teamwork, and understanding diverse perspectives are the foundation of being an effective employee. They will make managing up infinitely easier as you gain confidence in yourself, understand how others work, and learn how to stand on your own two feet rather than needing guidance from your superiors.

But how do you develop these soft skills? NimblyWise’s real-time learning framework is designed to help professionals identify their skills gaps using specific real-life scenarios, working through them with individualized coaching in real-time. Programs like these are designed to help you level up with necessary skills to thrive in the workplace!

3 Tips for Managing Up in the Workplace

Once you’ve mastered these soft skills, you’ll be prepared to try managing up for yourself. Here are a few tips for getting started:

Be a Clear Communicator

You can’t be afraid to accept or give feedback when managing up. If you don’t like the way your manager is treating you, or if you don’t think you’re being given appropriate opportunities for development, or if you don’t agree with the way a project is being executed, instead of internalizing—say something in a professional and collaborative tone. Then, together you can work out better ways to move forward.

Be Self-Aware

What is it like to work with you? If you first understand what your strengths and weaknesses are and how a manager will need to react to those, you have a better chance of effectively managing up because you can anticipate their next move. Now, this is easier said than done and you must look critically at yourself, which not everyone is comfortable doing. But those that do will have a much brighter future. That’s why at NimblyWise our programs start with self-assessments to promote self-awareness and uncover areas for development.

Be Adaptable

Part of managing up is how you react to certain scenarios and anticipating needs. Rather than boiling up with frustration after your boss gives you a task that’s confusing, take a deep breath, and work out a conscious plan to execute and get their feedback. If you know that your team runs into a certain problem every time you do a launch, be proactive and come up with a new plan to present that may work better—managing up also gives you control!

NimblyWise Can Help You Master the Art of Managing Up

At NimblyWise, our personalized professional training and coaching is designed to help professionals develop skills needed to succeed in life, and the world of work. If you’re ready to master the art of managing up while also closing your skills gaps—our programs could be exactly what you need. Let’s get started designing a learning path that helps you level (and manage) up!